Once in a blue moon, one has to stare straight into the eye of discretion and say fuck it. For those outings, there is no piece which combines anachronism, flamboyance, or horological merit quite so effortlessly. It will even tell you when that blue moon is about to come. The evolution of the WWII pilot’s wristwatch has evolved so far as to be almost unrecognizable to its own lineage. That’s no bad thing. The oversized case has endured, but nothing else remains familiar. Today one of the early 2010s boutique edition Big Pilot Perpetuals has come to market, with that classic case executed in a brilliant rose gold.
IWC was one of the pivotal manufactures to play a role in boutique editions becoming ‘a thing’. Today AP, VC, JLC, Omega, Tudor, and countless others have mimicked the retail tactic to the extent that is something of an art form. Although the strategy remains controversial, its effects on the secondary market have been to create a more diverse and interesting landscape. I do feel sympathetic to people who complain of hundreds of boutique edition Offshores, each produced in twenty examples with a slight color shift. For no logical reason whatsoever, I kind of give IWC a pass here. More than any model in their range, the Big Pilot Perpetual fits this tactic.
The Big Pilot Perpetual was released initially as a boutique exclusive in 2006 for Cellini and their Rodeo location if I’m not mistaken. I believe the Cellini Big Pilot LE is still the only Big Pilot to have ever been produced in titanium. This 2016 Bucherer boutique-only release was a run of two-hundred and fifty rose gold examples. The tone was mirrored in sections of the dial for an overall very flash, yet very smart aesthetic. It may seen all a bit silly, but there is also the practical side of a perpetual calendar. If worn frequently, one may effectively forget about resetting. This is made more easily accomplished through a 168 hour power reserve, visible in the right hand subdial.
This example is worn gently. Modern rose gold alloys tend to be quite strong and this 46mm case is sharp. I’d guess this sort of watch spent most of its life in a watch box only occasionally being taken out. There is small surface wear visible, but not much as these things go. It comes with a full set from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Perpetual Big Pilot here from Romain Rea listed as POA.